Simkins Skelter Road Bike Brake
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Tested May 27th, 2009








Simkins "Skelter" Brake

  • Cost: $290 MSRP (complete with brake pads)
  • Well designed, small form factor
  • Reasonably priced
  • Made in the USA
  • Light weight: 254 grams (pair); front 129, rear 126
  • Very easy to change out brake pads (for those that have alloy trainers and carbon racers)
  • Difficult to install
  • Moderate braking power

Matt Simkins' day job is to engineer eye/ear/nose/throat medical devices. In his spare time, he's focused his passion on cycling on building some intriguing road and tri bike brakes. He CNC designed these brakes and has them manufactured right here in the USA. He even has a patent on the dual pivot design, and the brake features two high quality ball bearings and full 7075 aluminum construction throughout. The brakes are an appealing alternative for the weight-weenie crowd and a compelling choice at it's price point, especially as compared to Dura Ace 7800 and 7900. The brakes rank high in "cool factor"--reasonably priced and thoughtfully designed and manufactured here in USA.

Brake      MSRP      Weight      $/gram   < than 7800
AX-Lightness Orion   $1,600 144 $11.11 -170
KCNC  $330 168 $1.96 -146
eebrake   $519 184 $2.82 -130
Zero Gravity Ti   $430 186 $2.31 -128
M5   $740 202 $3.66 -112
Negative Gravity Ti   $400 230 $1.74 -84
Simkins Skelter  $290 254 $1.14 -59
SRAM Red   $295 265 $1.11 -49
Campy Record Skeleton   $300 275 $1.09 -39
Dura Ace 7900   $440 284 $1.55 -30
Mavic SSC   $190 310 $0.61 -4
Dura Ace 7800   $235 314 $0.75 0

Design and Installation
What makes these brakes unique is the cable stop. It's tucked under the caliper to reduce aerodynamic drag-and the brake cable is supposed to tuck under there. Unfortunately, this design, while aesthetically pleasing, is also it's Achilles heal. Because the nut is located under the caliper, you need to remove the wheel to insert and fasten the cable. This requires a lot of trial and error to get just right.

Weight
While not as light as the Zero Gravity Ti's, the Simkins shave a significant 59 grams off Dura Ace 7800 and 30 grams off the 7900. They cost $55 more than the 7800 but a very significant $150 less than the 7900. For those who want a "different" and lighter brake, it is appealing.

Performance
One way to significantly cut weight is to have lighter springs, which Matt uses. The braking performance is reminiscent of the superlight Cane Creeks of the past; acceptable but not quite as "lock up" secure as Dura Ace or Zero Gravities.

 

Summary
These are attractive brakes that are made right here in America. They are a reasonably priced alternative if you are looking for something lighter and different. Just be prepared for the somewhat arduous installation process.

Value: 3.5 stars 
Overall: 3 stars


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